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Thousands moving toward Taksim Square in Istanbul

June 16, 2013, 4:59 UTC+3

According to the latest reports, 44 people were injured

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ANKARA, June 16 (Itar-Tass) - Istanbul police continued to actively drive protesters out of the streets adjoining Taksim Square and remove barricades left by retreating demonstrators.

According to the latest reports, 44 people were injured.

Security forces took measures to prevent groups of provokers from setting up barricades. Policemen under cover of vehicles with water cannons stormed obstructions set up by protesters and dispersed activists to clear streets.

The situation was very tense near the Divan Hotel at Taksim, in which demonstrators took shelter, and where a hospital was set up for injured people.

There were reports about clashes and attempts of protesters to repel police attacks. Policemen threw smudge pots into the hotel. Security forces also smoked aggressive demonstrators out of other places.

Meanwhile, thousands of people were going toward Taksim. Kilometres-long congestions were formed on the highway in the other direction. According to some reports, the demonstrators numbered at least 50,000. Among them were many elderly people and children. Many were walking to the bridge across the Bosphorus waterway to go to Taksim. Police prevented demonstrators from coming to the bridge.

Taksim Square was cleared of demonstrators. The operation continued to clear Gezi Park.

Thousands of people also gathered in Ankara in Kugulu Park and adjoining avenues. No clashes were reported in the capital. Among the protesters were members of the main opposition People's Republican Party. They and other demonstrators began a sit-down strike.

Thousands also went onto streets in other Turkish cities. Clashes took place in Adana. According to reports, police used rubber bullet there.

Authorities stated the clearing of Park Gezi was needed to ensure security for city residents. Police acted against groups that provoked clashes, and there were almost no peaceful demonstrators in clash places.

Opposition party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu accused Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan of crime against humanity. He said the storming of Park Gezi was unlawful and unjust. The opposition leader also said the premier would not stop to draw the country into a civil war.

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